Bobby B – The Omen

“It’s an omen.” Bobby took the joint from Eldridge Junior. Junior nodded towards the middle of Bobby’s front yard.

“Sheriff Wylie just gonna leave it in your yard thataway?”

“Fella that croaked out hasn’t got any people. Sheriff doesn’t want it takin’ up permanent residence in the impound lot. He said he could come tow it, but if he did I’d have to pay the lot fees if I wanted it back. For a small donation to the Sheriff’s Posse Roundup he’ll witness the title transfer and it’s mine.”

“What the hell you want with a Chevy Vega, Bogart?”

Bobby passed the joint back. “Told you, it’s an omen. Man drove it into my yard, got out, walked across the street with his heart exploding and fell in the bayou. Like he was sayin’ ‘Bobby, I’m goin’ over here to die, but first, here’s your omen’. So I have to keep it, work it out. Besides, it’s a ’75 Cosworth Modified, not a lick of rust anywhere on it. Looks showroom when it oughta be dead like the man who owned it. It’s an omen, for sure. Figure it’s time to re-build the garage.”

“You want me to call Eldridge Senior, get him over here?”

“Yeah. Why the hell do you do that, call your Daddy ‘Senior’.”

“Always have. He said Momma started callin’ him that the day I was born. All I ever heard. You know Senior. He ain’t gonna say much, one way or the other. You want another shed?”

“Think I’ll need to pour a slab this time. Cinder block with rebar and concrete walls. Three cars wide. And tall. I’ll need to put one of those mobile lifts in it.”

“Damn, Bobby. Somethin’ like that I’ll have to bring the laptop and run it for him. Getting’ kinda champagne for a Vega, ain’t it?”

“Not the only one. I’m out to rescue Vegas. Maybe Pintos. It’s my new mission in life.”

“Why? Truck stop whores have better reputations that Vegas, and for sure Pintos. They blow up on you when you least expect it, don’t run for shit when they do run, ain’t worth fixin’ and won’t be missed when they die.”

“‘Cause that’s the same shit people been sayin’ about me since you and CL are headin’ off to college.”

“They ain’t sayin’ shit about me. What they’re sayin’ is Carrie Louise is gonna keep getting’ better lookin’ and smarter and be a lawyer someday, like she always said. And you’re just gonna keep being a lucky, dumbass redneck. One of these days she’ll get tired of you bein’ an anchor around her neck and she’ll tell you and Houma to kiss her ass just like her Momma’s sister and your Momma did.”

“Hell, you’re goin’ to college. So why is it you don’t have to go to a party every weekend and move in early? All I get from Carrie Louise is ‘I can’t Bobby. Not this weekend, Bobby’. All summer long. Her new sorority sisters need her, her Aunt needs her, this or that party is callin’ her name.”

“Maybe you hadn’t noticed, but I’m the wrong color for most all of that except movin’.”

“It’s 2007, brother. Please.”

“Yeah it is, and the white folks in those old funky Animal Houses are still getting’ fucked up and singing ‘Hang your coat in the closet and your nigger out back, Jack.’ Other option is goin’ radical with my ‘brothers’ or bein’ the token lump of coal in the marshmallow bag. Neither one appeal to me. I asked Senior about the real need for any of that, and he said no black man owes any culture anything. He got his engineering from the Army, I’ll get mine from a wrong color brother’s dead daddy. Don’t need to belong to get along, he said. Just be like the swamp and roll on.”

Bobby lit a Marlboro Light, smoked it slow before he put his boot over it on the bottom step.

“Set it up to with Senior to build me a garage before you and Carrie Louise go off to college. I’m going to school myself, when I get it all set up. Find out what I need to put in the new garage.”

“Seems like you could adopt what’s workin’ at Swamp Vue.”

“Swamp Vue’s runnin’ itself. And if it’s not, Ms. Annabelle will have somebody’s ass in a meat grinder. Besides, this Vega thing is an omen, not a dream, and that makes it personal.”

“You can take it personal and still hire mechanics, Bobby. Probably find some don’t give a damn they’re fixin’ trash.”

“I’ll hire a mechanic, for damn sure. But I need something to do. And I know they don’t teach whatever that is in school. I’d best go see how this custom car business works for myself, so some slick don’t come to Houma and take me for a ride or talk me out of it. Or find me another Annabelle Monette.”

“Where you gonna go learn all that?”


“Sheee-it, Bobby. We got us a Messican body shop out past Bernard’s. They’d be happy to take your money and show you –”

“I’m sure they would. But out in California they know how to trick-out a car like nobody. I’ve been watching that celebrity news shit and those custom car shows. When Hollywood’s not getting’ fucked up and wrecking expensive cars, they’re bending each other over like it’s county jail inspection time. Call your Daddy, Eldridge. Build me a garage. Come sometime this fall I’m gonna go get me an education, too.”

“Sounds crazy to me. I was you, I’d buy a decent ride, put a month’s worth of coin in my pocket and go to the Keys or somewhere bikinis say overdressed. Get drunk, fuck anything with tits and a heartbeat. Live it up before whatever being a grown-up business magnate looks like moves in on you.”

“Fuck that. Daddy didn’t get his head popped off so I could chase women and kill myself in a crazy car. Been on my own, mostly, since I was twelve, so I’ve been out late and gotten stupid with nobody watching for a while. Somehow money I never see is payin’ for CL’s college and yours ‘cause of all that shit her Aunt Liz set up. I haven’t touched the principle yet. And don’t plan on it. Not for a car that’s a leather decorated living room on wheels or a pussy loaded vacation.”

For once Junior could say he’d seen Bobby look a little lost. Confused even. But like always, he could see the gears turn, see Bobby putting something together that would come sideways out of left field.

“How are you gonna explain to Carrie Louise about you and Hollywood while she’s going to real school?”

“She’s in Atlanta, partyin’ like a rock star, waiting for school to start. According to you and the wind, she’ll probably be there forever. I’ll make sure somebody checks in on her Momma while I’m gone, otherwise doesn’t seem there’s much to say.”

“That’s a cold shot, bro. You two been knowin’ each other since you were babies.”

Bobby set his phone down on the porch between them, tapped it with his index finger. “Be hard pressed to prove it by what’s on this. Woulda been nice to have her hand out pictures a couple of times in the big city boat shows. I had a hell of a time being a phony, happy whiz-kid with an operations woman, real salesmen and rent-a-babes handing out pictures of my boats that don’t exist.” Bobby stared off across the yard, across Bayou Black and into nowhere.

“That’s why Hollywood.” He popped Junior’s knee with his palm. “All the grown up I need to learn is how to smile like I mean it, when I don’t.”

Published by

Phil Huston

4 thoughts on “Bobby B – The Omen”

    1. Thank You! You have no idea how much. If I can crank on this some more and assemble it with the things that haven’t made it out to WP, it might end up as my NANO. I mean there is a plot, somewhere.


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